Text Feature Posters

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Raise your hand if you love teaching literary and fictional stories/units in reading or language arts class! Okay, now keep them up if you enjoy teaching expository just as much. Did you put your hand down?

I happen to love teaching expository text, and I actually prefer it to the traditional literary text (although I still enjoy teaching literary, I just find expository more interesting). Maybe it is my mathematical/scientific part of the brain!

Anyway, the entire third grade was working on expository (non fiction) text in class two weeks ago, specifically the text features: table of contents, glossary, headings, subheadings, captions, maps, graphs, etc. My students were fairly familiar with it already, just from daily practice with our math books, for example, but we had never had a whole week-long unit about it. I gave them a pre-test about matching features to the picture of the feature, made by one of my colleagues. The students did pretty well! After reviewing the features, the students and I cut up old Scholastic News magazines and found some actual examples of the text features. We called it our scavenger hunt, and the kids loved it!! Any time my students get the chance to cut and paste while working with a partner is a good day for them. ✂️📝

After the posters were complete, the students labeled the features and completed a self-assessment checklist to make sure their poster was complete. I just created the checklist on my own using Microsoft Word. Then I graded the posters and put them in the hallway on display! I don’t have pictures of the hallway yet, but attached are some pictures of the elements we found in the magazines. Also, here is the blog link which gave me the idea for the poster. Teacher blogs, Pinterest, and Teachers Pay Teachers are life savers, I tell ya – they are so creative!

What are you doing right now in your class? Let us know in the comments. We are going to be prepping and reviewing this week for next week’s big state test. My students are going to rock it! Also, I will post some Easter weekend recipes on the blog soon. Have a great week!

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Fancy V.I.P. Desk

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Okay, so this post just might be about the best behavior incentive program I have ever conceived for my classroom!! I can’t take all of the credit though, because I got the idea from this awesome blog post.

The idea is called Fancy Desk. It is a very simple concept and I really didn’t know if it would work with my students. The fancy desk idea on the blog (the teacher’s name is Ms. Moore) was used in a first grade classroom. I saw the cute little desk and read about the fresh crayons and pencils ✏️ (because who doesn’t LOVE fresh school supplies?!) and I wondered, Would this work for third grade students or will they think they’re too cool for it?

Well the answer is no, they are not too cool for it, and yes, they loved it! We are on day 3 tomorrow of using the Fancy VIP Desk! The reason we added Very Important Person to the title is because we use Class Dojo in our room. It is my favorite form of behavior management! I display the students’ cute little avatars on the board daily with my digital projector and we watch them earn (and sadly, sometimes lose) points, depending on each student’s individual behavior, or the class behavior as a whole. The VIP has been something I choose every day, based on who earned the most positive points for that day. Usually, the VIP gets a prize or candy, their name on the special sign, and an extra Dojo point! Now we have added the privilege of sitting at the Fancy VIP Desk all day long! The desk is so cute, with a seat cushion, apple 🍏 tablecloth around the edge, fancy ribbons, name plate, special pencil bucket with erasers and fancy apple 🍎 pencils, and -the kids love this best of all- a third grade word search booklet to work in when they finish their assignments! I am so excited about using the Fancy Desk in our room and many people online have liked my photos of it. I hope to use it for years to come, no matter what early childhood grade I teach. Let me know what you think of it, and how you would decorate your own fancy area for your classroom!

Thanks and have a great week! My birthday is tomorrow and my family is visiting this weekend for the holiday — I haven’t seen them in 3 months!

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Exit Passes (follow-up blog post)

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Hello readers! As promised, here are some examples of exit passes from my class of third grade students. I posted about this a few months ago and we have been using them a few times a week since then. In these examples, my students were writing about our guidance lesson, about helping a teacher, going to an anti-bullying assembly for DARE, and trying their best on our “math minute” weekly test. It is a great way for students to reflect on their day!

Also, enjoy the extra photo from our unit about mass and volume from science class last week! We measured one cup of water and poured it into three different size containers to observe how it changed (or as the students realized, the amount of water didn’t change, just the size of the container). Enjoy your week!

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The Day I Won 125 Cabbage Plants

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What do you do when you get called down to the office at school because you are being summoned by two people from a plant company??! This is what I asked myself on Monday, our first day back at school after spring break. (Also, this is the part of my blog where I apologize for being a bad blogger… Spring break and the end of the quarter craziness caught up with me and I have been super busy, which is why this is my first entry in 3 weeks.)

Anyway, I got to the office and the two plant company people said something unexpected: Mrs. Reiber, you’ve won 125 free cabbage plants for your third grade students!

I was in shock. I enter contests and giveaways all the time (pretty much daily) online, but the most I’d ever won was a free book, game, or magazine. I could not believe that I won plants for my students!! How exciting. I later remembered that I entered a contest in the fall and it said that winners would receive their plants in the spring. So on Monday, I thanked the plant people and proceeded to pass out 125 cabbage plants in biodegradable pots (how neat and environmentally friendly!) to our third graders during my planning period. The students were SO excited to get to take their plants home! They are responsible for taking care of the plant for 8-10 weeks and then they are to take a picture with their cabbage. The photo of the winner on the students’ handouts was smaller than her prize winning cabbage! I mean these things get huge. I may have grown up on a pine tree farm, but I have never grown a cabbage and to be honest I’m not much of a gardener… However, I am excited to grow my own cabbage here at home. I will need to transfer it to a bigger pot soon, and hopefully my green thumb will blossom. Hmm, maybe I could incorporate cabbage recipes with a blog post so that it connects to this post about the cabbage plants for educational purposes! 🌱

I am so excited for my students to have the opportunity to grow something of their own and to realize where our food comes from. I grew up eating blackberries right off the bush in the backyard as a child, along with many other fruits that grew on my grandparents’ land. I will always appreciate that part of my childhood, and it makes me realize as a teacher that not all of our students have the same background knowledge and experiences as we do. The students are to bring their cabbage plants back to school in September (or at least bring in a photo of them with their full grown plant) and the teachers will judge the six best plants. These students’ names and photos will be submitted for a state-wide contest, in which the randomly drawn winner receives a $1,000 scholarship! What an amazing opportunity and contest for our third grade students. For more info about the contest, click here. If you teach third grade, make sure you sign up next year!

To see the website I follow to find out about great giveaways and prizes for my classroom, click here and it is called Penniless Teacher.

I hope everyone has a great week and weekend!

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